Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


268                HISTORY OF PERSIA         CHAP.
credit in an expedition to Arabia, and owing to his
"affability, bounty, loyalty, courage and experience in
arms, at home and abroad,"l was hailed as a promising
successor to the throne. The Shah showed his displeasure
by putting to death the Prince's tutor. Khudabanda
hastened to court and expostulated wildly, going so far
as to draw his sword. Thereupon his father had him
blinded. The Prince became half insane, and in order
to avenge himself killed Fatima, a daughter on whom
the Shah doted, and then himself took poison. The eyes
of the fourth son also were put out, and by this act Shah
Abbas cut off the last of his sons from the throne.
His Death and Character.—These acts of cruelty
marked the closing days of Abbas, who, at the age
of seventy, died of a painful disease at his favourite
palace in Mazanderan, after a long and glorious reign
of forty-two years. In reviewing the character of a
monarch it is proper to give due weight to the judgment
of his own people, and it may at once be said that no
sovereign who ever ruled in Persia is so much respected
or beloved as Shah Abbas the Great. His portrait shows
a very handsome man, with fine, clean-cut features, keen
eyes, and large moustaches. Throughout his life he was
noted for courage, activity, and endurance of fatigue. His
ideas were far in advance of those current in his time, and
his general outlook was eminently wide and sane, although
his readiness to kill on the slightest pretext was deplor-
able. I prefer to think that the awful domestic tragedies
which darkened the close of his reign were not purely
wanton, but had at least some partial justification ; for
a prince so great, and in the main so just, was not the
man to put his sons to death without what he believed
to be good reasons. This account of the greatest of
Persia's sovereigns since the Moslem conquest may be
fittingly concluded with Chardin's dictum, "When this
great Prince ceased to live, Persia ceased to prosper/'
1 Herbert, op. cit. p. 178, details these tragedies with many rhetorical flourishes.